Is tape dead?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by GaryT, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    I have never heard of a hard drive freezing from not being used.
    I have never had a hard drive stick myself, but I rotate my backup drives
    so they spin up every couple months or so. I usually upgrade hard drives
    before they start having problems.

    That said, sticking hard drives (stiction) are quite common for drives that
    sit unused for a long period. A few quick Google searches should turn up
    plenty of real life examples.

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 26, 2014
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  2. On 1/26/2014, Brian posted:

    Maybe from me:)

    Not really, GaryT doesn't know me. But it has happened to me.

    Most recently 10 days ago, in fact.

    I have some old drives that I wanted to wipe so I could recycle or give
    them away, but one drive wasn't recognizable. I even opened the
    computer so I could connect it directly to the SATA connectors rather
    than the USB dock, but I had no luck, even after hitting it a few times
    with a screwdriver handle.

    I did finally get it to work by connecting it to an external connector
    that gave me the freedom to pound the drive a couple of times on the
    top of a leg of my computer stand - the leg sticks up a couple of
    inches above the shelf and it has a plastic endcap...perfect for
    hitting recalcitrant drives on :)
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 26, 2014
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  3. That word "hitting" above came from me by some weird accident of typing
    - sorry.
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 26, 2014
  4. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    I wonder if it relates to s certain brand of hard drive. What brand was
    your hard drive?

    Another thing I'm wondering now that portable hard drives can store more
    data is well a portable hard drive wear out faster than a non portable
    external hard drive?
    Brian, Jan 27, 2014
  5. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    It must be a problem for retailers selling hard drives as some would sit on
    the self in a store or at a warehouse for a while before being sold.
    Brian, Jan 27, 2014
  6. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    One advantage in keeping unused video is to create a library of useful
    video clips such as a bird in a tree, a forest, a sunset etc that can be
    reused in future videos.

    When it comes to videos such as a holiday video its best to make a short
    video to show friends then later make a longer video that includes all the
    things you recorded on holiday...often this gets delayed so their is a need
    to archive the full video until you get around to making the longer holiday
    Brian, Jan 27, 2014
  7. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    One advantage in keeping unused video is to create a library of useful
    I suppose it depends on the type of videos you make. A news service would
    probably want to keep a copy of all old clips in case they need to refer
    back to it.

    In my case, I generally only record our vacations or other activities. I
    wouldn't want a bird clip from Olympic National park showing up in a video
    of Yellowstone park. For me it's about the memories. I want to remember
    what we saw/experienced at each destination. Stealing clips from other
    videos would just be wrong. :)

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 27, 2014
  8. IBM. It was rather old: the capacity is all of 25GB.

    Anyway, there is a date of mfr on it: Jun-99.
    I see no reason for portables to be different from the others[1], but
    in general it seems that hard drives are a crap shoot. Any drive from
    any mfr can fail any time, but of course they mostly don't on any given
    Tuesday. And any mfr can produce a batch or several batches of bad
    drives. In fact, the drive above comes from at or near a time when IBM
    was getting a lot of attention for failed drives.

    [1] Assuming you don't drop them frequently or take them with you while
    you're surfing :)
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 27, 2014
  9. GaryT

    Paul Guest

    The design of hard drives is different now.

    In hard drive design, you have two options:

    1) When the disk spins down, the heads just come to rest on the
    platter. That's called CSS or Contact Start-Stop. A textured
    "landing zone" was used, so the heads wouldn't stick quite as
    badly. That was a partial solution.

    2) Modern drives, use a landing ramp for the heads. The head assembly
    is pushed up a ramp, so the heads unload. Then the platter spins
    down. The procedure is reversed on the next powerup. Platters
    spin up first, then the head assembly is "loaded" onto the platter.
    That means the heads experience "lift" as they approach the platter,
    and should come to flying height immediately. The only problem with
    ramps, is the possibility of friction grinding debris off the ramp
    after many cycles.

    The lubrication on disk platters now is different as well, not that it matters.
    The lubricant is really exotic and is only two or three molecules
    thick. The first molecular layer is considered "bonded" to the platter,
    and the molecule or two above it is considered the "lubricant". The closest
    analogy in appearance, might be that the platter is "waxed". I think the
    lubricants at one time, were macroscopic in nature, and not quite as

    And in case you think this is a "solved" problem, there are rocket
    scientists working in labs right now, to reduce the flying height
    to zero. Some day (not today), drives will operate 24/7 with
    a flying height of zero. The last experiment that was done
    with this idea, the head lasted for 30 days before it wore out.
    But that won't stop those rocket scientists, they'll keep
    trying until they perfect it. Based on the observation
    that some drives are exhibiting a "wear out reliability curve",
    one would almost suspect they're too close to zero as it is.

    Paul, Jan 27, 2014
  10. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    At the moment recording to external hard drives seems the best option to
    store good quality video which is likely to be large in size. Not everyone
    has a DV video camera to record video to so it can be archived. VHS tape is
    too low in quality.
    DVD's can only store 1 hour in good quality and 2 hours in standard
    quality. Blu-ray bank discs can be expensive and there is a lot of video to
    loose if the disc is damaged. Is there anything I've missed?
    Brian, Jan 28, 2014
  11. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    Not if they are from your own video :)
    I like collecting short video scenes such as clouds passing over the moon
    at night or a shot of a group of people watching an outdoor performance
    which can be used as cut-away shots if needed...or even to create a mood
    for the video. It a bit like having a collection of sound effects.
    Brian, Jan 28, 2014
  12. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    Are you referring to a certain brand of hard drives, a period when the
    improvements were made or are all external hard drives like this?
    One way of telling if a external hard drive is recent is if it supports usb
    3.0....i wonder what happened to all those unsold usb 2.0 External Drives?
    Brian, Jan 28, 2014
  13. GaryT

    Paul Guest

    A couple of studies of disk drives have been done.
    The people doing the studies plot failures versus time.
    Then, they fit the data to known failure models.
    One model would be the bathtub curve. Another
    would be a wearout model.

    The manufacturer also provides estimated reliability,
    but that's based on them selecting a particular model.
    I think the model assumes a bathtub curve. Yet,
    real drives have shown on a couple occasions, what
    looks like wearout behavior. Which then invalidates
    the theoretically calculated MTBF (makes it meaningless
    for practical purposes). The MTBF information is used
    to determine how many spare drives to stock per year.
    If the manufacturer's estimate isn't accurate, the
    (large) customer can order too few spare drives,
    or end up spending way more than expected on maintenance.
    For example, my company might tell you to "order 5% more
    of these per year, so you're covered while we repair those
    under warranty". That's why MTBF numbers are quoted.
    For estimation purposes at the spares stock cabinet.

    Some of the field statistics, show failure rates many
    times the manufacturer estimate. Which means for someone
    like Google, they're pouring more into maintenance
    than they should.

    A wearout mechanism, there may be some physical significance
    to it. Perhaps something really wears inside. But to be
    sure of your analysis, you'd want to do a post-mortem autopsy,
    to see what killed the drive, what parts of it could be
    considered to have failed. No studies I've seen have done
    this. Only certain manufacturers of hardware, are even
    willing to discuss with consumers, what might be going on.
    The manufacturer does this for themselves, and the manufacturer
    definitely knows all about whether the modeling done
    is valid or not.

    A company like IBM, is at least willing to discuss
    doing a post-mortem on something they sell. If you
    do millions of dollars of business with them, are
    having a problem with something, they will at least
    entertain the notion of getting out the microscope
    and having a look. IBM has also put in print, case
    studies of things that have happened to them, such
    as silicon die contamination by things like marker
    pens, used to mark bad silicon die on a wafer. So in
    terms of companies, that's one that stands out.
    Other companies we see and hear about, are for
    the most part "silent on all counts". You can't
    even get an email response from their tech support.
    And that gives you some idea, just how far they
    can be trusted.

    That's why in a previous posting I made, I joked
    about getting a box of popcorn and waiting for
    a press release from the company. Because that's
    never going to happen. Some companies, you know
    exactly how they behave, when the pressure is on.
    "Maybe if we don't say anything, people will forget
    what they just read."

    Anyone who owns a hard drive, should know they should
    own two of them. Put identical copies of data on each.
    Some day, one of the drives will fail. Now, the fact
    that the drives fail five times or ten times more
    often than they should, is relatively unimportant
    if you have backups. At some point, if the failure
    rate is high enough, 1+1 redundancy is no longer
    sufficient. But in this case, it's likely good

    With backups, now your remaining area of concern,
    is how much you're spending per year. For example,
    I was replacing my main C: drive, on average, about
    once a year. I noticed the trend after a couple
    years, and then changed who I buy drives from as
    a result. I can take this leisurely attitude, because
    I have backups. I don't have a single drive, with
    my only copy on it. I just watch the brand in question,
    until it's costing me too much, and I happen to notice.

    If you only have one hard drive, and put your
    only copy of data on it, then you'd want a much
    more detailed understanding of how it might

    Every company puts out bad drives once in a while,
    but if they do it for enough years, "it begins to smell".
    Keep track of your own hard drive failures, and make up
    your own mind, who that might be.

    Paul, Jan 28, 2014
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